2019 in Review

2019 was a big year for me.

It doesn’t feel long since I was working part-time while growing my photography business on the side. But here I am, seven years after my first paid photo shoot, four years after quitting my “real” job and going all in, and three years after photographing my first wedding, and the old dream is my new reality.

Going into this year, I was excited to say yes to everything. Photograph all the things, travel as much as possible, hike new trails; there weren’t many days where I didn’t have something on my calendar. Every sunrise, every elk sighting, every rainbow and blizzard and fall-colored leaf, I loved them even more for getting to share them with my couples. I had the best year of my life, on so many levels.

But I knew I had reached a limit when I was packing for a two week trip to Scotland with Justin, and found myself wishing I could stay home with our cats instead. I was coming off photographing 19 weddings in the past two months, and I was tired. That trip brought on a lot of epiphanies for me. (I blame the abundant whisky tastings, and my husband being the best listener.)

I realized that I don’t want to hustle to book destination work, when I’m constantly wishing I could spend more time at home in Boulder. I realized that I want to share my love and knowledge of the Front Range with couples, because you really don’t need to go all the way to Telluride or Crested Butte to find epic dirt roads, mountain passes, and private high alpine lakes.

And I realized that I can best capture your lives when I’m fully living my own.

So thank you 2019, for the lessons learned, memories made, miles traveled, and photographs created.

2020, I can’t wait to see what you have in store.

2019 by the numbers

Elopements

Weddings

Adventure Sessions

Miles Hiked

Dogs photographed

January: winter in Colorado

I started off my 2019 in the best possible way: playing outside in the Colorado snow. The government shutdown posed some challenges, as I had to help one of my couples find a new place to elope while Rocky Mountain National Park was closed. Once we found a new spot, their backcountry skiing elopement turned into one of my favorite days of work ever. I also snuck in a quick trip out to Los Angeles with my friend Vivienne to visit heaven on earth aka Wi Spa.

Couple in front of mountain at sunrise, Chautauqua winter engagement photography session, Boulder engagement photographer, sunrise hiking engagement session, Colorado wedding photographerIce Castles wedding photography, Dillon Colorado winter elopement, bride and groom inside ice castle Bride and groom skinning up snow-covered trail, backcountry skiing elopement in Colorado Colorado elopement photographer, Backcountry skiing elopement, bride and groom kissing in snow covered mountains Bride and groom skiing in Colorado mountains at sunset, blue hour wedding photos, Colorado adventure wedding photographer

One of my January highlights was hiking the Winter Trifecta with Boulder Hiker Chicks: a 10+ mile suffer-fest in a foot of fresh snow, breaking trail across the tree tallest peaks in Boulder. To make the day a little harder on myself, I set a goal to photograph every single hiker chick on the trails that day. That means I had to start last, and catch up to everyone else along the trail, even if the first group had an hour head start. I managed, and watching this slideshow with all the happy (sweaty, tired, frozen) faces makes me so happy. BHC has been the best source of community for me, and I can’t wait for new adventures with them in 2020!

 

February: winter in Norway

Gay couple in front of colorful street art, Colorado LGBT wedding photographer, gay engagement session Couple kissing on frozen alpine lake with mountain views behind, Boulder winter engagement session, Colorado adventure wedding photographer Bride and groom walking in mountains, 3M Curve elopement, winter wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park Brainard Lake winter engagement session, couple hugging on frozen alpine lake, Colorado engagement photographer

After a couple of engagement sessions and a very blizzardy elopement in Colorado, I spent most of February in Norway. I only get back to see my family once a year, and I’m so grateful for a flexible work schedule that lets me travel for weeks at a time. I went cross-country skiing, hiked with my mom, and made campfires in the snow, so pretty much living my childhood all over again.

I also got to check off a bucket list destination, and visit the Lofoten islands in winter. After visiting my family, I met up with three Colorado photographer friends; Jen, Shanna, and Caroline, who all bought flights within a few hours of me texting them about the deal! This was my first time traveling with only photographers, and we had a blast hiking around in the snow, drinking whiskey under northern lights that were so beautiful we may have cried a little, editing photos in front of the fireplace in our adorable red cottage, and oh yeah, puking on the wildest ferry ride of my life. It was quite the adventure.

Northern lights in Lofoten, elope under the northern lights, best places to elope in Norway Rorbuer in Reine, Lofoten in winter Lofoten islands in winter, best places to elope in Norway

March + April: sunny Los Angeles + Hawaii

March is always one of my slowest months, and I’m happy for the chance to play in the mountains and charge my batteries before wedding season. I finally had an excuse to stay at The Stanley in Estes Park for a WIPA Colorado event. I caught the best sunrise alpenglow I’ve ever seen at Dream Lake. This year, I also got to fly out to Los Angeles for Tilly and Kris’ wedding at Smogshoppe, and a couple of sunny days to explore new parts of Los Angeles.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes ParkDream Lake sunrise with alpenglow in winterBride and groom portraits in front of greenery wall, bride and groom acro yoga portraits, Colorado wedding photographer

In April, Justin and I headed out to Hawaii for nine days of snorkeling, hiking, and soaking up the sun. I’m normally drawn to cold weather countries when I’m choosing where to vacation. One of my friends even messaged me while in Hawaii saying “wow, you’re somewhere WARM!” But walking barefoot to the beach with my coffee to watch sunrise was pretty darn dreamy, and I’m hoping to make it somewhere warm again in 2020.

Couple hugging on cliff in Hawaii

And because I couldn’t leave April without more snow, I ended the month with Alaina and Andrew’s elopement in Crested Butte. They had rented out the cutest airbnb log home for the weekend, and having a warm home-base proved key when the weather was more midwinter than spring.

Crested Butte winter wedding, how to handle bad weather on your wedding day Crested Butte winter wedding

May: still not spring in Colorado

2019 gave us the snowiest spring I’ve experienced in my ten years in Colorado. Lindsay and Payden moved their elopement to higher altitude so they could get snow instead of rain, and the whole day felt like being inside a snow globe (that someone was shaking vigorously). Sarah and Brad had to move their elopement to our backup location, because the original trailhead was still buried under four foot of snow. Laura and James moved their elopement to Garden of the Gods, because their original location was muddy from snow melt. And Cassie and Chris wins the award for coldest shoot of 2019, because it was only 4 degrees when we met at sunrise for their engagement session in Breckenridge … on May 24!

Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park proposal photography Winter elopement photos at Bear Lake in RMNP ColoradoGarden of the Gods elopement in Colorado Springs

June: FINALLY summer … sorta

My June started off with Kasia and Cody‘s wedding at Sunrise Amphitheater and CU Boulder on a warm and sunny June 1st. After that, I had weddings and elopements in Breckenridge, Aspen (and more Aspen), Rocky Mountain National Park (and more Rocky), Loveland Pass, and downtown Denver.

And you might not believe it, but the photos of my bride hiking with her snowshoes in hand were taken on June 28! Mary and Nick‘s elopement was the most type 2 fun I had all year. Mary and I first met on the BHC Winter Trifecta back in January, so I knew she could handle snow, but postholing and getting caught in a hail storm was not part of her elopement plans. Yet we had so much fun out in the wilderness, and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Sunrise Amphitheater wedding in Boulder Colorado University of Colorado at Boulder wedding at Koenig Alumni Center Hiking proposal in Boulder Colorado in the rain Trail Ridge Road elopement photos in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado wedding photographer Larsen Photo Co. Winter elopement photos in Rocky Mountain National Park Trail Ridge Road wedding photosBride and groom first kiss, Wedding ceremony at Sevens at Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado mountain wedding photographer Maroon Bells elopement ceremony in Aspen Bride and groom wedding photos at Coohills Restaurant in downtown Denver, Colorado wedding photographer, Denver city weddingIntimate elopement ceremony at 3M Curve in Rocky Mountain National ParkBride hiking in the Colorado mountains, Indian Peaks Wilderness adventure elopement, Colorado elopement photographer Indian Peaks Wilderness elopement, Colorado adventure elopement photographer, mountain elopement ceremony at alpine lake Hiking adventure elopement in the Colorado mountains, Boulder wedding photographer, Indian Peaks Wilderness elopement

July: New Mexico + Colorado + Oregon

In July, I photographed Chris and Erik‘s wedding in Gold Hill, Taylor and Alex‘s engagement at one of my favorite Boulder trails, and I went hiking with an avocado. All totally normal Colorado things!

Grooms wedding portraits at Colorado Mountain Ranch in Boulder, gay wedding in ColoradoRed Rocks Trail at Settlers Park in Boulder, Colorado engagement session locations

Then my parents came out to visit from Norway, and I took two weeks off from shooting to road trip with them to Santa Fe and Telluride. After they left, Justin and I headed out to the Oregon coast for a long weekend with friends, and that whole trip was one of the highlights of my year. Bonfires on the beach at night, hazy sunsets, hiking through lush forests; it was everything a summer vacation should be. 

 

August: the best of summer

Looking back at my August, it feels like I squished a whole summer’s worth of memories into a single month. I had weddings in Rocky Mountain National Park and Crested Butte and Boulder, saw more sunrises than any other month, did a couple of big hikes that had been on my bucket list for ages, swam in three different alpine lakes, and squeezed in a trip to Steamboat with Justin that included a hot spring soak under the stars. August was a really good month.

Sunrise hiking elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado elopement photographer Colorado adventure elopement at sunrise, hiking wedding in the Rocky Mountains Lost Gulch engagement session in Boulder, Colorado Elopement wedding bouquet by Fawns Leap Colorado wedding in the mountains of Crested Butte with dog Sunrise hiking elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado elopement photographer Crested Butte wedding in mountains with wildflowers, Colorado wedding photographer Shrine Pass engagement session in Vail Colorado Boulder engagement session

September: fall colors and full schedule

I really freaking love September in Colorado, and the work I got to create this month. I photographed weddings in Breckenridge, Vail, Idaho Springs, Longmont, Crested Butte, Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness (and once againBoulder, Pine, and Telluride. Next year, I’m keeping more of my September open to go hiking, because it’s my absolute favorite month in the mountains.

Rivertree Lodge wedding ceremony in Breckenridge, Colorado Indian Peaks Wilderness engagement session Bride and groom wedding portraits at Sapphire Point in Dillon, Colorado mountain wedding photos Blackstone Rivers Ranch WeddingCrested Butte adventure elopement Colorado elopement in Crested ButteDonovan Pavilion wedding in VailLost Gulch wedding photos in Boulder Colorado adventure elopement in Indian Peaks Wilderness Hiking elopement in Telluride Windy wedding dress in Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park elopement in Colorado

October: so many travels

I remember October as a blur of airports and rental cars and long drives and big laughs and surprise snow and surprise sun and dogs and mountains. I had weddings in Tulsa, Lake Tahoe, Steamboat Springs, and Boulder, all in the same week. I went to Baltimore for a long weekend to attend a wedding, for once. I had engagement sessions at Brainard Lake and in Idaho Springs. And I ended the month with a snowy Halloween-themed wedding in Boulder.

Idaho Springs engagement session in Colorado, hiking adventure session in long dress Lake Tahoe elopement Groom getting ready for elopement in log mountain home in Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs elopement in winter Bride and groom share first dance in the living room of a luxury mountain home in Steamboat Springs, intimate elopement in Colorado Rembrandt Yard wedding, Boulder wedding photographer Bride and groom hiking the Dream Lake trail in winter

November: too many travels

I decided early this year that I would take November completely off from shooting, to rest and travel and catch up after a busy wedding season. But when Katie and Mike asked me to photograph their elopement at Horsetooth Reservoir at sunrise on November 1, I made an exception, and it was so worth it for how much I laughed with them that morning.

Horsetooth Reservoir Elopement in winter, Fort Collins wedding photographer

I spent most of November traveling through the United Kingdom with Justin, plus a quick trip to Seattle for Thanksgiving with his family.

There are too many standout moments from the UK to recap, but a big one was visiting the Old Man of Storr on Isle of Skye. I’ve seen countless photos of this place over the years, and I’d been so excited to finally hike there in person. But seeing big crowds of tourists hiking off trail and expanding the already wide mudslide of a trail put a bad taste in my mouth.

Photographing destination elopements used to be my dream.

What could be better than getting paid to travel to all the cool places you’ve seen online and photograph a couple eloping there? Right?

But I’ve realized that I’d way rather work in a place I know, and keep traveling as the thing I do for fun. I know Colorado better than anyone traveling here to check “shoot in the Rockies” off their bucket list, just like local photographers in Scotland will know all the best spots to escape the tourist traps.

And maybe by keeping work and travel separate in the future, I can also keep both more fun.

December: it’s the most wonderful time of the year

I photographed my friends Jess and Austin in what might just be the coldest shoot I did all year. With temperatures well below freezing, and 25mph winds blasting snow in our faces, it was a prime example of type 2 fun, and why I love winter in Colorado. And just as fun, they photographed me and Justin in return. (That’s us in the second photo!) This feels embarrassing to say as a wedding photographer, but this was our first time getting in front of the camera together. I’m so glad we finally did though, because now I know just how akward and fun it can be!

I also photographed Cassie and Chris’s wedding at the Manor House in Littleton, and it was the most beautiful way to both end my work year and get in the Christmas spirit.

And finally, December was a month of slowing down. I’ve baked cookies and made soups and enjoyed slow dinners at home with Justin. I’ve gone hiking, but I’ve also let myself sleep in, take midday yoga class breaks, and probably spent too much time in the sauna at my gym. I know that time for rest is important for creativity, but this December, I’ve felt it. And that feels like a pretty good way to end the year.

And that’s a wrap

Wow. That all happened. I have so many thoughts and memories and things I could write about this year, but I want to leave it on this: 

2019 was a good year. 

P.S. If I photographed you this year, but didn’t include photos in this post, it’s purely because I was too lazy to pull out all my hard drives when writing this. Every single one of you made my year <3